Older Offenders in Community-Based Residential Facilities

Key Words

older offenders, community corrections, offender profile

What it means

About a quarter of all offenders in community-based residential facilities (CBRFs; i.e., halfway houses) in the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) were aged 50 or over. Knowledge of these offenders can assist in community correctional planning. For example, given that it is known that older offenders tend to have served relatively long sentences prior to community release, increased support for older offenders may be required in re-adjusting to community living. It is also possible that infrastructure and intervention adaptations are required.

What we found

Overall, about a third of offenders under community supervision were aged 50 or older. Compared to those under age 50, older offenders were less likely to be on day parole or have a residency condition (21% vs. 32%). Indeed, older offenders represented about a quarter (26%) of all offenders at CBRFs. This may be linked to the relatively high proportion of older offenders convicted of sexual offences; offenders convicted of sex offences are often given greater structure and support to promote successful community reintegration.

While the proportion of older men to older women offenders in CBRFs was roughly equal, the proportion of older Aboriginal offenders in CBRFs was higher than the proportion of older non-Aboriginal offenders (27% vs. 19%).

As illustrated in the Table, though the proportions of offenders in the community who were 50 or older differed by region (paralleling, in part, patterns in the Canadian population), the proportion of these offenders in CBRFs did not vary greatly. Moreover, the regional variability for older offenders is similar to that found for the overall offender population; therefore, this regional variability in the proportion of offenders in CBRFs is likely due to differences in available CBRF space or in the imposition of residency conditions across regions rather than specific to older offenders.

Older Offenders by Region
Population Descriptor National Total Atlantic Quebec Ontario Prairie Pacific
Percentage of offenders in the community who are 50+ 35% 29% 46% 35% 25% 39%
Percentage of above group in CBRFs (i.e., day parole or residency condition) 20% 18% 19% 23% 17% 24%

Why we did this study

As reflected in the changes in the broader Canadian population, the proportion of federal offender population aged 50 and older has been increasing. Most of these will eventually return to the community given that legislation requires that most offenders eventually be granted conditional release (a period of supervision in the community prior to sentence expiry). As such, a greater understanding of the number and profile of older offenders in CBRFs can assist in community correctional planning.

What we did

The 7,866 federal offenders under community supervision on March 30, 2014 (7,372 men and 494 women) were included in analyses. The analyses focused on offenders required to reside in a CBRF. This could be either because they had been released on day parole or because of a residency condition imposed at release.

For more information

Please e-mail the Research Branch or contact us by phone at (613) 995-3975.

You can also visit the website for a full list of research publications.

Prepared by: Rene Gobeil